Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

A mind-blowing machine

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • #16
    Re: A mind-blowing machine

    Originally posted by donalds View Post
    Eric,

    Your analysis and predictions have continued to be valuable and on the mark. One aspect you incorporate successfully is the geopolitical, often missing or understood by many mainstream economists.

    However, your analysis fails to take into consideration ecological factors. Granted, your prediction of the move towards alternative technologies addresses ecological factors. But it hints at the old technological fix argument. One must take into consideration something as simple as the second law of thermodynamics. Energy transformations mean loss of energy: entropy. Societies can only depend on the exploitation of natural resources to the extent that scarcity does not pose a serious problem. For instance, building an advance auto industry requires the raw materials needed to manufacture those autos. This still requires mining, fabrication of plastics, etc., for which there are limits posed by the resources available to us. So, in reality, the problem is not so much one of scarcity but of over use and over exploitation; scarcities are not produced by nature but by humanity.

    In any case, whatever baseline of natural resources exist, their limits can be overcome only so much through technological advances. At some point excess exploitation and consumption override said tech. advances.

    The bottom line is that your re-industrialization thesis runs against the grain of limits inherent in any ecological system. As long as society depends on an economy that runs by the imperative of growth, then these limits will continually be confronted, and technological advances will only starve off the eventual outcome.

    So, why not look at an economy that is not based on god (grow or die)? Perhaps human population levels leave one thinking that there exists no other choice. But then again, perhaps these very population levels leave us with little choice but to move towards sustainable, steady state economies.
    I'm not attempting to answer anything for EJ, but to make a point about available resources of some types. When was the last time you drove around the US? I did from 1998 to 2003, and it always boggled my mind as to the junk machinery that exists everywhere. Old cars and farm machinery are everywhere. Perhaps a lot of it is being recycled, but it seems to me there is still a gigantic junk pile in America if and when it becomes feasible to reclaim and reuse it.

    If I knew anything about business and were younger, I might start a company of going to all these farms, run down homesteads, junk lots and buying the steel and whatever else is just setting there and begin to recyle it.

    Also there are tons of old oil drilling equipment, tanks, pumps, pipe just lying around in the Permian basin.
    Last edited by Jim Nickerson; 01-29-08, 02:18 PM.
    Jim 69 y/o

    "...Texans...the lowest form of white man there is." Robert Duvall, as Al Sieber, in "Geronimo." (see "Location" for examples.)

    Dedicated to the idea that all people deserve a chance for a healthy productive life. B&M Gates Fdn.

    Good judgement comes from experience; experience comes from bad judgement. Unknown.

    Comment


    • #17
      Re: A mind-blowing machine

      Originally posted by Jim Nickerson View Post
      I'm not attempting to answer anything for EJ, but to make a point about available resources of some types. When was the last time you drove around the US? I did from 1998 to 2003, and it always boggled my mind as to the junk machinery that exists everywhere. Old cars and farm machinery are everywhere. Perhaps a lot of it is being recycled, but it seems to me there is still a gigantic junk pile in America if and when it becomes feasible to reclaim and reuse it.

      If I knew anything about busisnes and were younger, I might start a company of going to all these farms, run down homesteads, junk lots and buying the steel and whatever else is just setting there and begin to recyle it.

      Also there are tons of old oil drilling equipment, tanks, pumps, pipe just lying around in the Permian basin.
      EJ writes in:
      Give capitalism a chance.

      "According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), more than 95 percent of all end-of-life vehicles in the U.S. are processed for recycling, irrespective of their age, make or design."

      That wasn't the case 20 years ago. Markets tend to find ways to pick up thrown away money. As the price of steel increased, so did recycling. Use a floating tariff on oil to hold then gradually increase the price of oil. The economy will organize itself around the new prices: cars will get smaller, commuting will decline, demand for public transportation will increase, and so on.

      As for my hope for a new transportation and energy infrastructure, it will further reduce the energy intensity of the US economy as higher oil prices have done over the past several years. As it takes energy to produce goods, the per capita ecological footprint will decline, too.
      Ed.

      Comment


      • #18
        Re: A mind-blowing machine

        Originally posted by Jim Nickerson View Post
        If I knew anything about busisnes and were younger, I might start a company of going to all these farms, run down homesteads, junk lots and buying the steel and whatever else is just setting there and begin to recyle it.
        Too late Jim - someone has beaten you to it, and ramped it up to a scale that'd be hard to compete with now. Great article on this exact thing in the New Yorker last week. Unfortunately the whole article isn't available online, but the abstract is here.

        Comment


        • #19
          Re: A mind-blowing machine

          Originally posted by WDCRob View Post
          Too late Jim - someone has beaten you to it, and ramped it up to a scale that'd be hard to compete with now. Great article on this exact thing in the New Yorker last week. Unfortunately the whole article isn't available online, but the abstract is here.
          Well, just eye-balling things, there is still a lot of scrap out there. Perhaps when we go to NM this summer, it will all be gone, but I doubt it.
          Jim 69 y/o

          "...Texans...the lowest form of white man there is." Robert Duvall, as Al Sieber, in "Geronimo." (see "Location" for examples.)

          Dedicated to the idea that all people deserve a chance for a healthy productive life. B&M Gates Fdn.

          Good judgement comes from experience; experience comes from bad judgement. Unknown.

          Comment


          • #20
            Re: A mind-blowing machine

            Originally posted by WDCROB
            Did anyone do anything with the idea that compound interest on ever increasing levels of debt behaves like bacteria in a jar? i.e. expands exponentially right up until the point that it completely collapses?
            The Economist had an article a while back while talked about how 1 penny invested at the birth of Christ would have become a mass of gold larger than the Earth by now through continuous compounding.

            The reason this is not true is that there are regular episodes of wealth destruction.

            The entire inflation vs. interest rate debate is stimulating, but misses the point (while Dr. Hudson also talks about): Banks may gain some liquidity/capital from low interest rates, but ultimately the power game lies in repossession of collateral.

            Cheap money means those who lend are not forced to risk real assets in order to obtain loans/liens on real property; the 'big game' played by nations and classes is the loan and repossess one.

            Thus the key to lenders winning is ensuring that borrowers never can repay the loans; one way is through taxes on real property (which never end) coupled with rising asset prices.

            The lenders thus neither have to pay the property taxes nor are they unduly inconvenienced by liquidity issues as the lenders are the entities creating credit.

            Comment


            • #21
              Re: A mind-blowing machine

              Originally posted by Rajiv View Post
              Yes you are right that inflation acts as negative interest. But unfortunately, interest accrues to the banks - while inflation hits the population at large -- resulting in a net transfer of wealth - from the population at large to the bankers.

              Have you ever thought why the Federal Reserve Act and the Income Tax (16th amendment) were passed the same year - 1913?

              I believe that they both went hand in hand to allow for exactly what you are aiming for -- Allow the bankers to create money - but tax them so that balance is restored. However, the income tax got bastardized not just to include interest and investment income -- but also to wages and salaries -- thus of no use at all to prevent the transfer of wealth to the rich

              Even if the income tax had been properly applied - corporate structure of th banks may still have allowed the tranfer of wealth to happen.

              However, in my view, the main problem with using interest/inflation is that inflation hits everybody -- not just the lender and the debtor -- the cost is borne by the whole society -- because of the increase in money supply. Going back to a fixed money supply would address some issues -- but would result in boom bust scenarios as long as interest (and particularly compound interest) is used. This is one of the reasons I like Margrit Kennedy's and Tom Greco's ideas -- they appear to work on the small scale -- but the question is whether they can be scaled up and whether they would be accepted by the existing power structures.
              The bankers are intermediaries in this process, not the end recipients of the interest. Yes, they have in recent years managed to raise their transaction fees to profit handsomely, but the interest goes to the owner of the capital - the "saver" (or beneficiary of accumulated capital by whatever other means).

              Because interest rates rarely keep pace with inflation, and the purchasing power of fiat currency denominated savings is constantly depreciated by the difference, inflation plays an important role. In societies where wealth redistribution cannot be achieved through taxation, the wide differences in wealth can be narrowed through the "inflation tax". That's the only way US society will politically tolerate the necessary wealth redistribution that has to come now, after so many years of wealth concentration.

              Comment


              • #22
                Re: A mind-blowing machine

                Originally posted by GRG55 View Post
                The bankers are intermediaries in this process, not the end recipients of the interest. Yes, they have in recent years managed to raise their transaction fees to profit handsomely, but the interest goes to the owner of the capital - the "saver" (or beneficiary of accumulated capital by whatever other means).

                Because interest rates rarely keep pace with inflation, and the purchasing power of fiat currency denominated savings is constantly depreciated by the difference, inflation plays an important role. In societies where wealth redistribution cannot be achieved through taxation, the wide differences in wealth can be narrowed through the "inflation tax". That's the only way US society will politically tolerate the necessary wealth redistribution that has to come now, after so many years of wealth concentration.
                read this and thought i'd like to read more about "politically expedient redistribution of wealth" so i entered that into google and guess what i got?

                as for farrell... ej, pay no attention to that ding at the end. he's merely following the new fashion of msm press commentators... to pretend they were helping the little guy avoid the big, bad wall wtreet tycoons greedy bankers and getting them out of the market before it tanked. ******* liars. you actually did. thanks.

                Comment


                • #23
                  Re: A mind-blowing machine

                  Originally posted by metalman View Post
                  read this and thought i'd like to read more about "politically expedient redistribution of wealth" so i entered that into google and guess what i got?

                  as for farrell... ej, pay no attention to that ding at the end. he's merely following the new fashion of msm press commentators... to pretend they were helping the little guy avoid the big, bad wall wtreet tycoons greedy bankers and getting them out of the market before it tanked. ******* liars. you actually did. thanks.
                  oh, yeh! and this from slate:

                  Best Forward-Thinking
                  Harper's dissects the history of the American economic bubble and predicts the next one: alternative energy. With all the ingredients in place—government regulation to aid the industry, a rapidly growing market, and increased media attention—it might be time to get in on the ground floor of that tofu-powered car IPO.—N.M.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Re: A mind-blowing machine

                    Originally posted by donalds View Post
                    Eric,

                    Your analysis and predictions have continued to be valuable and on the mark. One aspect you incorporate successfully is the geopolitical, often missing or understood by many mainstream economists.

                    However, your analysis fails to take into consideration ecological factors .. it hints at the old technological fix argument
                    ... whatever baseline of natural resources exist, their limits can be overcome only so much through technological advances. At some point excess exploitation and consumption override said tech. advances.
                    Am I the only one who buys into both the "limits to growth" and "technological fix" arguments? The way I see it, technological advances allow new resources to be exploited, and old resources to be used more efficiently. Exploitation then proceeds exponentially. So does technology but not always in the right direction. Inevitably we end up bumping up against new limits. And then we have to play a zero sum game for a while until the next set of technological advances comes along, allowing the cycle to start again.

                    That seems to me to be the pattern of history. Granted, right now we seem to be in a "bumping up against limits" moment. We need to manage that as best we can. But ultimately we need new technology to move on to the next phase.

                    Comment

                    Working...
                    X